Akindi is a web-based platform that automates the creation and grading of multiple choice examinations, using any scanner and regular paper. Once a professor creates an account, Akindi produces a choice of bubble sheet templates that can be customized and printed as many times as needed for a class examination – and one copy to serve as the answer key. If provided with the information, Akindi can provide prefilled answer sheets with student names and numbers. If not, students or faculty can complete this information. Once students complete the test, all the answer sheets, including the answer key, can be used to create a single PDF file and sent to Akindi using any scanner or printer with scanning capacity. Within minutes, the results and analytics are returned.
The results provided by Akindi are designed to help faculty better understand their students’ performance and the strengths and weaknesses of the test questions.
For each test: The analytics for each test include highest, lowest and average mark, a chart comparing student results, specific results for each student and each question, the breakdown of answers for each question, and a chart with each student and each question, highlighting the wrong answers. Akindi also looks at the results of select groups of respondents to present the instructor with a list of best-constructed questions, questions that could be improved, and questions that require intervention. A detailed look at the information provided by an analysis of test results is available at http://suefrantz.com/2015/01/03/scantron-alternative-akindi-2-0/.
For each course: The course profile offers summaries of course averages, highs and lows, and tracks student results across a graph, as well as providing composite results from all tests and exams in a course.
For each student: Analytics for each student presents their performance in one course or in all courses taught by the same faculty member, with details on all test scores.
Bringing Akindi in-house: An instructor can use Akindi free-of-charge for 30 days and then can have a limited number of free assessments running at the same time. As professors prefer unlimited access, and have often shared Akindi with their colleagues, faculties and institutions can subscribe to the platform.
The idea for Akindi, based in Toronto, grew from Mahmoud Hasim’s, the CEO and Founder, experience with a start-up for small and medium business, when he realized that data entry was time-consuming and tedious work. He resolved to build a better Scantron, a scanning system that requires specific equipment and paper. Akindi was founded as part of the Digital Media Zone at Ryerson University in Toronto and the platform was beta-tested with students worldwide from June to December 2012 and was launched in January 2013. The platform has been used by faculty at Ryerson University, Harvard University, Caltech, and others.
Mahmoud Hashim sees Akindi’s improved platform for multiple choice as “the tip of the iceberg”, as it is only one form of assessment. Looking at the three key steps of creating an assessment; distributing it in class, online, or to mobiles; and getting and sharing the results and analytics, the goal is to develop a platform that would do all this for a variety of test formats. The platform would grade everything that can be automatically graded, with faculty and teaching assistants assessing the rest. More data and insights could then be provided to improve teaching, learning, and testing. For example, questions could be tagged to learning outcomes, allowing professors to recognize broad areas of difficulty; at the same time, each student would receive detailed, personalized feedback.